LISTEN: William "Accidental Terrorist" Shunn on Mormonism and science fiction

The latest installment of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast (MP3) interviews science fiction author William Shunn, author of the The Accidental Terrorist, a memoir that explains the bizarre circumstances in which Shunn, as a teenaged Mormon missionary stationed in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested and deported for terrorism.

Shunn's story may already be familiar to you if you've been reading Boing Boing for a while. He's written several versions of this memoir over the year, sharpening and improving it, even podcasting it. It's been twenty years in the making, and the current incarnation is the definitive and best one.

Meanwhile, Shunn's interview is wide-ranging and delightful and covers a lot of ground about the relationship of science fiction and Mormonism.

"I consider Joseph Smith to be the ur-science fiction writer of Mormonism. He essentially invented a whole fantasy world in The Book of Mormon—at least that's how I look at it. And in fact he was a fan fiction writer too, because The Book of Mormon is nothing if not Bible fan fiction. If you look at The Book of Mormon as his Lord of the Rings, the rest of his theology is kind of like The Silmarillion—he went back and filled in all the history and cosmology of the universe. … I look at The Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith's first novel, and he commits the same sin that any writer does when they're writing their first novel. He seems to be the main protagonist through the first part of the novel. … There are all kinds of interesting parallels between Joseph's life and The Book of Mormon, and I really think that [Nephi] is the Mary Sue in that book."

Sci-Fi Writer William Shunn: The Book of Mormon Is a Lot Like Lord of the Rings [Geek's Guide to the Galaxy/Wired]